Threats and more threats against public policy initiatives these days do not work with the new government and that is great news to Malaysian consumers!

In the past, when the government comes out with new approaches – either to install control speed mechanism on heavy vehicles, lorries, ban smoking in public places, initiating no drive zones in tourist streets or plain speed restrictions for the good and benefit of all Malaysians the lobby mafia from political parties and outside move in subtly to neutralize the efforts!

The usual ‘modus operanti’ is the call for a postponement!
And when that happens, change never comes!

A travesty of justice!

So after subtle threats and a stern warning from the government of withdrawal of operating licenses there is a retreat among players in today’s marketplace in the case where the Petrol dealers are allegedly holding a series of urgent meetings with the government over the proposed weekly float system in order to stop a possible national-level boycott by its members.

Let me remind all, that under the law, dealers had to supply fuel continuously or their licenses could be revoked for failing to provide fuel – simple!

That is a requirement under the Control of Supplies Act 1961 since June 1975.

And as such, the government will ensure that the supply of scheduled goods is always in the market and easily accessible to consumers at all times!

Any attempt to disrupt this will result in serious consequences!

As you are aware, I am a strong proponent of the weekly fuel float system, my then minister’s advocate and policy driver, which I believed facilitated benefits for consumers faster from reductions in the fuel prices but dealers fear they may lose money with the same?

In the present controversy, the operators are refusing to restock fuel for the next few days as they will probably have to sell it lower from Jan 1, after the weekly float for the RON95 petrol price is implemented.

This is in view of low global oil prices.

I do not disagree that there are legitimate issues to be addressed but operators need to know that they operate under a license duly given based on policy and it is not their right but a privilege!

It is a pity that in the present political climate, many have forgotten that many things they enjoy is not a right, but, a privilege but as always, the debate between right and privilege gets muddy and clouded when the cocktails of race and religion are embedded in the discourse?

My advice to the government is straight forward!
If there are shenanigans and rabble rousers out there immediately withdraw their licenses!

Send the message that there will be no room to threats or blackmail for this government means business!

Similarly – Malaysia will enforce a smoking ban at restaurants, coffee shops and hawker stalls nationwide from Jan 1!

This move is Malaysia’s commitment as a member state to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and adheres to the guidelines under Article 8 of the World Health Organization!

The ban will cover all air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned restaurants, coffee shops, as well as open-air hawker centers and street stalls.

Those caught smoking at prohibited areas will be fined RM10,000 (S$3,321) and eateries found not enforcing the ban will be fined RM2,500.

The non-compromising Health Ministry was pushing to gazette all open-air restaurants as no-smoking areas which is fantastic and music to the anti-smoking campaign and advocates!

The move was to not only encourage smokers to kick the habit, but also to protect non-smokers from second-hand tobacco smoke.

There is enough material and data of the health risks and threats to nonsmokers herein!

Here there are attempts by operators and associations to again play the old game of demonstrations, lobby and seeking a reprieve which I am certain will not come with the kind of consumer consciousness and health first stance taken by our new health minister!

Thank you YB Minister!

If these associations persist, it is time to send in the enforcement squads to check each and all restaurant operators, on the requirements of the Immigration act, the food act, SSM and other legislation required under the law for an eatery to operate!

It is game on and the Malaysian government must exercise their role as the government and not be intimidated by the lobbyists and pressure groups to act against majority consumer interest!

Blessed New Year 2019 folks!